Doctor Who: A Good Man Goes To War

I suspect that many fans would say that this episode represents a moment when the series, rather than its main character, rose so high and fell so far. Loren Rosson and Gabriel McKee both have reviews (with spoilers) and there will be spoilers in what follows. And believe me, if you haven’t seen it yet but plan to, there are surprises (even if they are things that some had suspected) which you won’t want spoiled before watching the episode – not least because those surprises are among the only really great moments in the episode.

So, on with the post.

I liked the idea of the Doctor rounding up an army, but it happened so fast, and the reunion with Amy was so unemotional, that it felt unsatisfying. In spite of explosions and deaths it still felt like a “not-war” (as Loren put it).

But the twists involving Melody Pond seem to me to go a long way to redeeming the episode – both the “fool you twice” moment and River Song’s revelation.

So we pretty much now have the answers to some key questions. Or do we? When River Song said she killed the best man in the world, she was referring to something she did to the Ganger Doctor when she was a little girl in a space suit? If that’s going to be the way the clues we’ve been given get tied together, then it will take some truly creative writing to get it to seem feasible.

But maybe it is the complete lack of concern for feasibility that makes Doctor Who so much fun. I posted “River is the only water in the forest” as my Facebook status yesterday, and had a friend and colleague who is a biologist tell me how wrong that was, ecologically.

My response was that concern for scientific accuracy generally spoils Doctor Who. Why should this episode be any different?

Let me end with a video for all those who are pondering the Doctor’s status as warrior and his ethical stance(s), which was shared on IO9 last week:

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  • http://www.facebook.com/goodacre Mark Goodacre

    I thought it was a fabulous episode. 5/5 all the way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/goodacre Mark Goodacre

    I thought it was a fabulous episode. 5/5 all the way.

  • http://profiles.google.com/cammoblammo Cameron Horsburgh

    Yeah, just watched it and I was very impressed. You’re right that the army raising happened a little quickly. That was probably the weak point—it reminded me a little of the gathering of the (anti-Doctor) army at the end of last season. It just didn’t work.

    That said, I sort of picked the River/Melody thing. The names were just enough of a clue. And have been enough hints along the way that she is something of a weapon. When she chooses she’s in prison for something rather bad that she did, and it seems to have had something to do with the Doctor. 

    I’m just disappointed that the season ended so quickly. I was just starting to get into the habit of watching it, and now I’m going to have to go back to watching football on Saturday nights.

  • cameronhorsburgh

    Yeah, just watched it and I was very impressed. You’re right that the army raising happened a little quickly. That was probably the weak point—it reminded me a little of the gathering of the (anti-Doctor) army at the end of last season. It just didn’t work.

    That said, I sort of picked the River/Melody thing. The names were just enough of a clue. And have been enough hints along the way that she is something of a weapon. When she chooses she’s in prison for something rather bad that she did, and it seems to have had something to do with the Doctor. 

    I’m just disappointed that the season ended so quickly. I was just starting to get into the habit of watching it, and now I’m going to have to go back to watching football on Saturday nights.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Yep, waiting for the next episode, especially during these long breaks, is hard. But it is a good time to go back and watch reruns! :-)

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Yep, waiting for the next episode, especially during these long breaks, is hard. But it is a good time to go back and watch reruns! :-)

  • Anonymous

    Favourite line which will appear in a sermon one day:

    “Good people don’t need rules. Today’s not a good day to find out why I have so many.”

  • cameronhorsburgh

    Favourite line which will appear in a sermon one day:

    “Good people don’t need rules. Today’s not a good day to find out why I have so many.”


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